Hong Kong Visas Made Easy

16

Apr 2019

Must Read: True Story of a Deluded Foreign National Trying to Sue His Way to a Hong Kong Employment Visa

Posted by / in Musing, Refusals & Appeals, Visitor Visas / 13 responses

First Published August 27, 2012

Note: I am presently fully engaged on the launch of Hong Kong Visa Sherpa so time’s a bit tight to publish new content on this website for the moment. Consequently I am surfacing some interesting posts from down the years, giving them a lick of paint and showing them the light of day again!

 
Sue his way to a Hong Kong employment visa?

It is a very rare occasion indeed that private court hearings see the light of day and it tickles me pink that Mr Justice Lam allowed his ‘in Chambers’ decision to be published, so it can be read by anyone generally.

In case you’re not too taken with reading legal judgments, this is the plot from an immigration situation that unfolded in Hong Kong in February of this year:

1. A US national flies from Sydney to Hong Kong en route to London.

2. After touching down in Hong Kong he changed his mind and decided he wanted to fly to Paris instead.

3. The airline wanted more money for the route change, and the man didn’t want to pay.

4. In light of this he passed through immigration at CLK as a visitor and determined he was now ‘stranded’, and reckoned he was incapable of feeding and accomodating himself.

5. He then emailed the Chief Executive, the Secretary for Justice and the Hong Kong Immigration Department claiming he was being held in Hong Kong against his will by the denial of his right to take up employment as a visitor as he wanted to work to obtain shelter and food.

6. It was, he contended, impossible for him to be a ‘visitor’ in these circumstances as he couldn’t leave and his treatment amount to ‘torture’ and thus a breach of the Torture Convention.

7. His legal claim was that he should be given permission to work in order to support himself.

8. The HKID wrote to him and told he needed to make an application for an employment visa  under the terms of the General Employment Policy (just like everyone else).

9. In the meantime, he sought the Court’s intervention to judicially review the decisions leading to his predicament, but didn’t want to pay the (modest)fees for this and demanded (and received) an urgent hearing in the judge’s chambers to try to present his case.

10. The judge kicked him into touch post haste!.

You couldn’t make this stuff up!

You can read the complete 2 page judgement here.

More Stuff You May Find Interesting or Useful 

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Should you ever get married just for Hong Kong visa purposes?

Paying for visa help? The Who’s Who of the Hong Kong immigration services industry

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12

Apr 2019

The Impact of Brain Drain on Hong Kong and Resulting Immigration Policy Development

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Investment Visas, Musing, Special Programmes / 5 responses

First Published On May 25, 2012

The Impact of Brain Drain on Hong Kong: the term “brain drain” first appeared in 1957 in a novel called Atlas Shrugged and the term refers to the loss of skilled researchers, analysts, the accomplished and the talented – for political, industrial and social reasons.

It’s currently frequently utilized as a dramatized synonym for loss and could be outlined as “the world transfer of resources in the shape of human capital” and “the loss of abilities or human capital to society or to the country from which migration takes place“.

Brain drain appeared in Hong Kong in 1987 when a major wave of emigration was seen experienced due to the uncertainties surrounding Hong Kong’s future in light of the 1997 hand back to China. The trend endured in the following decade thanks to the concerns of some HK residents, particularly those educated and professionally talented, about the political future under Mainland Chinese sovereignty and the enlarging immigration opportunities to be had in the more well-liked destination nations.

An annual average of 55,000 émigrés left Hong Kong between 1989 and 1995. This resulting outflow of talent impacted on the economy of Hong Kong in four discrete ways:

Loss of Efficiency

In order to compensate for the lack of professionally trained employees due to their emigration, junior staff were promoted ‘beyond their station’ to take up their vacancies. As such junior staff had neither adequate coaching nor experience for these higher level positions, the standard of service and operational effectiveness were significantly negatively impacted.

Productivity of Subordinates

The exit of the very skilled influenced the output of their subordinates due to the lack of their supervision. The economy so suffered an indirect loss of output.

Loss of Human Capital

Émigrés were often highly educated, had received significant job related training and were well-experienced in their work having typically been engaged with their employers or within their professionals since the end of their formal education. Their exit represented a great loss of human capital to Hong Kong’s economy.

Outflow of Capital

Most émigrés left Hong Kong with their wealth. Depending on their destination of choice, quite a number of them had to commit significant sums of capital in their new countries in order to qualify for immigration overseas.

To address the issues caused by brain drain in the 1980s and 1990s, the government of Hong Kong has taken concrete measures in the development and implementation of immigration policy.

These initiatives including retention, return migration, replacement and retraining. Among those measures, replacement was a comparatively simple and acceptable way to fill the vacancies of the émigrés. Aside from the swift growth of tertiary educational opportunities, the HKSAR Government has relaxed its limitations on the importing of professionally trained employees, particularly those from the Mainland, to fill manpower openings.

Out of the phenomenon of Brain Drain emerged the Admission of Mainland Talents and Professionals Scheme, the Quality Migrants Admission Scheme, the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates and the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme. In the meantime, the private sector has responded aggressively to the lack suitable talent caused by emigration by employing more expatriates under the General Employment Policy.

More Stuff You Might Find Interesting or Useful

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Why internet forums are a cr@p source of Hong Kong visa and immigration advice

What are you really buying from a Hong Kong immigration consultant?

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09

Apr 2019

Eligibility Criteria for the Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa Scheme

Posted by / in Musing, Special Programmes / 39 responses

Image: dontstopliving.net

The Hong Kong working holiday visa programme first came into play in April 2001 and is meant to aid cultural and education exchanges between HK and those nations who take part on a bi-lateral basis.

Participants in the Hong Kong Working Holiday Scheme are not permitted to engage in permanent employment and should not work for the same employer for more than six months (for participants from the Republic of Korea) or three months (for participants from Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan and New Zealand) during their visit in the HKSAR.

Participants from Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand may also enrol in study or training course(s) during their time under the programme.

The Scheme permits younger people (between 18 and 30) to make an application for a Working Holiday Visa for Hong Kong which enables them to remain in the HKSAR for a maximum vacation period of one year. During their stay, the Working Holiday Visa holder can take up short term work for a period of less than 3 months with any one employer and can study for a fixed duration.

The tradition of the Scheme works to permit a lengthened vacation type experience of working, living and also, the chance of studying in HK for an unqualified maximum period of one year but the Scheme shouldn’t be viewed as an alternative choice to a work visa.

Extensions outside the twelve months aren’t available and an applicant may only receive one Working Holiday Visa during the life of the Scheme.

The overall objective of the Scheme is to offer a valuable opportunity for younger people to broaden their horizons and the programme is subject to a maximum quota of visas to be issued each year.

Countries that have bilateral Working Holiday Scheme agreement with the HKSAR (as at 1 January 2019)

  • Australia (annual quota = 5000)
  • Austria (annual quota = 100)
  • Canada (annual quota = 200)
  • France (annual quota = 750)
  • Germany (annual quota = 300)
  • Hungary (annual quota = 200)
  • Ireland (annual quota = 200)
  • Japan (annual quota = 1500)
  • Korea (Republic of) (annual quota = 1000)
  • Netherlands (annual quota = 100)
  • New Zealand (annual quota = 400)
  • Sweden (annual quota = 500)
  • United Kingdom (annual quota = 1000)

Temporary employment

  • Australian citizens – not allowed to work for the same employer for more than three months
  • Austrian citizens – not allowed to work for more than six months
  • British citizens – not allowed to work for more than 12 months
  • Canadian citizens – not allowed to work for the same employer for more than three months
  • Dutch citizens – not allowed to work for the same employer for more than six months
  • French citizens – not allowed to work for the same employer for more than six months
  • German citizens – not allowed to work for the same employer for more than three months
  • Hungarian citizens – not allowed to work for the same employer for more than six months
  • Irish citizens – not allowed to work for the same employer for more than three months
  • Japanese citizens – not allowed to work for the same employer for more than six months
  • Korean citizens – not allowed to work for the same employer for more than six months
  • New Zealand citizens – not allowed to work for the same employer for more than three months
  • Swedish citizens – not allowed to work for the same employer for more than six months

Applications are selected on a first-come-first-served basis. Processing of applications takes about 3 weeks.

Conditions for successful application include:

* You must hold a valid national passport issued by the participating country and be ordinarily residing in that participating country.

* Your primary intention is to holiday in Hong Kong.

* You must be aged between 18 and 30.

* You must be able to show financial proof of having enough funds to maintain yourself during the stay in Hong Kong. (e.g. bank statement, saving accounts passbooks, and the like).

* You must have a return air ticket or financial proof of having sufficient funds to purchase one home.

* You must hold medical and comprehensive hospitalisation and liability insurance to cover your time in the HKSAR – certain nationalities: see here.

* The process is by way of direct application in Hong Kong via a local representative or direct to the HKID via mail.

* Applications can also be submitted via the network of Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in the participating countries.

More Stuff You May Find Useful or Interesting

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100% Hong Kong visa application success rate? Take it all with a grain of salt

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05

Apr 2019

Hong Kong Employment Visa Self-Sponsorship – the Reality for Entrepreneurs Masquerading as Employees

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Investment Visas, Musing / 4 responses

First Published May 1, 2012

There really is no such thing as visa self-sponsorship if you are an entrepreneur seeking permissions to join in your own business in Hong Kong. You either work for an independent third party employer, or you are working for yourself (or possibly in partnership with one or 2 others).

Let’s assume you make an application on the basis you’re an employee but really you’re an entrepreneur in disguise.

If your employer’s business has been established for less than 2 years and has not successfully sponsored a foreign national’s employment visa before, ImmD will apply 2 specific tests to your application.

First, and foremost, they will apply the employment visa approvability test looking at the employee-applicant seeking to understand if he or she possesses special skills, knowledge or experience of value to and not readily available in Hong Kong.

In a new company situation (less than 1 year old) they will also look to the bona fides of the proposed sponsoring employer and apply the essence of the business investment visa approvability test  too – namely, is this business in a position to make (or is actually making) a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong?

You see, ImmD have to be satisfied that a proposed employer is actually a suitable sponsor: it is not sufficient that the company is properly incorporated and registered to carry on a business. They want to be satisfied that immigration policy is being properly implemented so with a new business situation, the Hong Kong ID will look into every nook and cranny to ensure that it is so the case.

It is for this reason that it is churlish to expect that newcomers to Hong Kong can simply incorporate a company and then seek to employ themselves in it. No matter how you disguise the actuality of your self-employment, the Immigration Department will always apply the much tougher investment visa approvability test. They do this in 2 ways:

(1)    When the company is newly established, as discussed above, and

(2)    When they see that you are a shareholder in the business (even though you have tried to mask it with nominees).

So, if you’re an entrepreneur, it’s the investment visa for you, not an employment visa. Dressing up as an employee will only make your application take longer to finalize, which means more uncertainly before case finalization and greater frustration as ImmD peel back the layers on the ‘employee-not-entrepreneur’ edifice you have tried to create.

More Stuff You May Find Useful or Interesting

How important is the support of InvestHK in your Hong Kong investment visa application?

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What’s the minimum capital required for a Hong Kong investment visa approval?

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What does it take to get a Hong Kong investment visa approved?

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29

Mar 2019

The 10 Key Reasons Why Foreigners Seek Visas to Live and Work in Hong Kong

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Family Visas, Investment Visas, Long Stay & PR, Musing, Special Programmes / 10 responses

First Published June 3, 2012

Migration demographic analyses first came into play in 1885 in the Journal of the Statistical Society when geographer Ernest George Ravenstein essayed what he termed the “Laws of Migration” seeking to set out an explanation for and attempting to predict migration patterns in England.

In his seminal paper, Ravenstein compared 1871 and 1881 UK census data and plotted patterns of migration movements and from his observations he contrived a series of “Laws of Migration”.

Among those laws, Ravenstein considered that there was a process of “absorption” in which people immediately surrounding a fast-growing location would move into it and the gaps they left behind were filled by others from more distant areas.

This process continued until the underlying attraction behind the movement of populations was no longer sufficiently compelling enough to maintain the momentum and the ‘migration’ was completed. Moreover, Ravenstein also stated that there was a law of “dispersion”, being the opposite of “absorption”.

Ravenstein suggested that the “Laws of Migration” were underpinned by a number of “pull” factors and “push” factors. Pull factors attracted inward migration and applied to both the highly skilled and the less so whilst push factors prompted migrants to leave their country of origin.

Examples of the “push” factors cited included high unemployment rates, low income, political instability, poor security and natural disasters. Family connections, higher income opportunities, improved medical care, greater professional career development, higher living standards and overall quality of life were cited as examples of “pull” factors.

Naturally, “pull” factors can be enhanced as a result of the posture of the receiving nation in encouraging such inflow of migrants whereby their desire to use foreign nationals in their economies is driven by labour needs, availability of land resources, overall economic opportunities and political liberalism.

As you would expect, Hong Kong has a number of “pull” factors which attract highly skilled immigrants from more than 120 economies into our economy, and the people who have gone through the process of migration to the HKSAR generally agree these include the following:

1. Geographical location, especially its proximity to mainland China.

2. Excellent employment opportunities.

3. Relatively high salaries.

4. Low rates of tax.

5. Easy and efficient immigration procedures.

6. Excellent telecoms.

7. A largely bi/trilingual workforce.

8. Low risk of terrorism.

9. The rule of law.

10. Low level of overt racism.

In recent years, Hong Kong has introduced specific immigration programmes to encourage these “pull” factors including the Admission of Mainland Talents Scheme, the Quality Migrants Admission Scheme, the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates and the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme. All other immigration is managed under the General Employment Policy and the policy in respect of family dependent relationships.

Related Posts for Further Reading

The 7 things your employer needs to know about getting a visa for you to work in Hong Kong

What are you really buying from a Hong Kong immigration consultant?

How onerous is the sponsorship role in a Hong Kong investment visa application?

What do both Hong Kong employment and investment visa applications share in common?

STOP PRESS! Hitler’s HKSAR passport application has been rejected!

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26

Mar 2019

The 7 Things Your Employer Needs to Know About the Immigration Process When Applying for a Hong Kong Employment Visa

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Musing / 4 responses

Applying for a Hong Kong Employment Visa?

You’ve been offered a job in Hong Kong and you need an employment visa.

But your new employer has no experience about the process, so what do you need to tell them?

1. Firstly, there’s the approvability test – namely – you need to possess special skills, knowledge or experience of value to and not readily available in Hong Kong AND your employer must be justified in engaging your services as opposed to those of a local employee.

2. Secondly, the minimum value of your total package should amount to no less than HKD260,000 per annum, give or take.

3. Their sponsorship of  your application is an absolute prerequisite – which means they must agree to fund the cost of your repatriation if your residence does wrong for any reason.

4. Your employer will have to disclose certain corporate and business information in support of your application and they may find this information to be confidential (such as financial information and details about current employees, their job titles and how much they get paid).

5. They need to understand that patience will be required until you can start your duties – it will take a minimum of 4 weeks to process your visa application AFTER all the documents the HKID need have been received in their hands AND it is illegal for you to start working, paid or unpaid, until your visa application has been approved.

6. You can start your application whether you are inside or outside of Hong Kong but the HKID will not likely grant you an extension to your visitor visa just because you’re in Hong Kong when your application was submitted.

7. And, finally, your employer has an obligation to notify the Director of Immigration as soon as your employment with them comes to an end.

As is most things in life, just because you want something it doesn’t automatically follow that you’re guaranteed to get it.

The immigration process is no different.

If you both take the situation seriously, meet the minimum criteria for visa approval at least and be forthright, respectful, earnest and honest in your dealings with the Immigration Department, it is not unreasonable to expect a positive outcome to your employment visa application.

More Stuff to Help You Along

What’s the minimum salary for a Hong Kong employment visa approval?

I’ve lost my job – will I get kicked out of Hong Kong?

Can I apply for a residence visa whilst I am visiting Hong Kong?

What are your visa options in Hong Kong if your marriage has irretrievably broken down?

The Hong Kong Immigration Department are out to deny – not approve – applications (aren’t they?)

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23

Mar 2019

Redundancy – the Process Pitfalls of an Expiring Hong Kong Employment Visa

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Musing / 117 responses

First Published On May 23, 2012

 

Expiring Hong Kong employment visa having been make redundant? Hong Kong visa and immigration processes can be profoundly easy or incredibly complex.

It all depends on the unique combination of circumstances you find yourself in.

In a pure linear world of job offer-visa application-approval-then take-up the job, it can be relatively straightforward to align your working visa permissions to your job as well as the time spent working for that one approved employer.

But what happens, say, if you get made redundant six weeks before your employment visa is due to expire – and you have no new job offer in hand by the time your current period of stay under the employment visa endorsed in your passport comes to an end?

Do you have to leave the HKSAR? Will you be given an extension to your employment visa even though it is no longer sponsored by an employer you have now ceased working for? Do you go into a kind of visa-limbo land? Do you leave HK for a day or 2 and come back as a visitor? If you do that, does it mean you lose your continuity of residence for the purposes of an eventual application for a Permanent Hong Kong Identity Card, securing right of abode in the process?

These are all-important questions faced frequently enough by foreign national residents of HK to warrant answers to. So here we go:

1. Without a job offer you cannot apply to extend your employment visa permissions.

2. Consequently, when your current period of stay runs out, you will have to go to Immigration Tower in Wanchai and get yourself a visitor visa on the pre-text that you need to remain in the HKSAR to continue to find an alternate employment.

3. The HKID should accommodate such requests for several weeks/a few short months, especially as the longer you’ve lived in the HKSAR, the more amenable they are to empowering you to remain in situ to help you get yourself back on a sound employment footing once again.

4. Once you have a job offer in hand, you must re-apply for an employment visa via the 24/F of Immigration Tower once more using the forms ID990A and ID990B (even though these forms are designed for applicants who are presently living outside of Hong Kong). Using the form ID91 (extension of stay for a visitor seeking to change status back to employment whilst in HK via the 5/F is no longer the process adopted by the HKID). Note that if you intend to start your own business a separate process applies that goes beyond the scope of this discussion.

5. Under this mechanism, once your new visa application is approved, you will be issued with a new visa label which you have to activate by exiting HK (usually via Macau or Shenzhen for the day) and re-entering with the new visa label placed in your passport for activation when you recross the border back into the HKSAR.

6. Any accompanying family members with expired dependent visas simply follow in the stead of your employment visa applications so you can address the situation for each of you in exactly the same manner.

None of this process advice, by the way, means you’ll automatically pass the approvability test for your new employment or (possibly) investment visa application, but does shed necessarily light on the twilight world for expats who find themselves temporarily visa-less after having made Hong Kong their home.

One final point. Typically, any time spent in such visa-limbo-land will not compromise your continuity of residence in Hong Kong for the purposes of your eventual right of abode application. But don’t let too much time pass. Get on with regularising your employment visa situation as soon as you can.

It’ll save you a world of grief.

More Stuff to Help You Along

I’ve lost my job – will I get kicked out of Hong Kong?

If I didn’t graduate from university, will it stop me from getting an employment visa?

Can I employ myself by getting a Hong Kong business investment visa?

Should you ever get married just for Hong Kong visa purposes?

Paying for visa help? The Who’s Who of the Hong Kong immigration services industry

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